The British Board of Film Classification has said it has received complaints about a film depicting Jesus and his disciples as gay men despite the fact that the film has never actually been made.

The complaints relate to internet rumours that a film version was being made of the play Corpus Christi by Terrence McNally. The play depicts Jesus and the Apostles as gay men living in Texas.

The British Board of Film Classification’s senior examiner Craig Lapper said there was a a “constant issue” with rumours about a film version being made.

Mr Lapper said: “I think it was a bit of an internet hoax several years ago suggesting a film was being made of the play in which Jesus and his disciples were portrayed as homosexuals, and I can remember replying to people concerned about this blasphemous film back in the late 1990s.

“And this year again, for whatever reason, there was another spike in people writing to us to insist that we ban this terrible blasphemous film. We just had to write back and say, ‘This film doesn’t exist’.”

The board said it has received 6 complaints in 2011 and 2 complains during 2012 asking them to ban the film on the grounds that it is blasphemous and offensive.

In 1976, Mary Whitehouse, founder of the National Viewers and Listeners Association, (NVLA) began a lawsuit after she read the poem entitled The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name by James Kirkup, published in the defunct publication Gay News.

The poem expresses the fictional love of a Roman Centurion for Jesus and describes him having sex with the Christ’s crucified body and is reproduced below. It can be found here.